After a blade is heat treated it is discolored (8) and needs to be cleaned
up. Each type of steel has its own color and ATS-34 looks maroon as you see
in the picture. Before cleaning the blade I turn a bearing (9) from oilite
bronze and press it into the blade pivot hole with an arbor press. Oilite
bronze contains a high percentage of oil and allows the blade pivot to be
largely self lubricating. If you eventually do put a drop of oil in the
knife the bronze will hold the oil next to the pivot where its needed. Neat, huh?
In picture (10) you see the two blades we are working on with the bearings pressed
in and the discoloration ground off. Notice that the tanto shaped blade is
just as shiny looking as the other blade. The other blade is ATS-34 but the tanto
is damascus. At this stage they are hard to tell apart but after the blade is
etched the pattern will be very evident. There is no picture of the etching process
but it is very simple. Basically, you just drop the blade in a container of warm
Archer circuit board etchant for a few minutes and it developes much like a
photograph. The exact time and process varies with the composition of the damascus
but the maker can usually provide you with that information.